Wednesday 13 December 2017

Britain's media flies the flag for the queen in green

Ian Burrell

"Queen ignores bomb scare" was how 'The Sun' headlined its online report of the queen's four-day visit to Ireland yesterday, praising her choice of a "jade green crepe coat" and matching hat as "a symbolic gesture to Ireland and its people".

The coverage by Britain's biggest tabloid was accompanied by images of the monarch with President Mary McAleese and a few shots of protestors -- though none of those who vainly tried to set fire to a commemorative Union flag left over from the royal wedding and bearing 'The Sun's' own logo.

"Enjoy your stay, Ma'am. And make sure you try the Guinness," had been the paper's editorial yesterday morning. But the opposite page contained all the chilling headline words -- "terror", "bombers", "threats" - that older 'Sun' readers associate with its coverage of Irish affairs.

News of a potential attack in London to coincide with the historic visit generated a spread in the 'Daily Mirror' with images of police officers searching manholes around Buckingham Palace.

But as the queen arrived in Dublin the nervousness in the British media began to recede. On his Twitter account the 'Mirror' columnist and author Tony Parsons wrote: "The Queen in green, looking like everybody's grandmother. I feel less worried about her now. She is up for a good time in Ireland."

The #queenvisit hashtag trended on Twitter in the UK for all day, with the Channel 4 News team tweeting that the newsroom was holding a "big debate" on whether the queen's outfit was jade or emerald green.

Sky News and the BBC news channel both gorged on the footage. Even when Prime Minister David Cameron was on his feet in Parliament, Sky split the screen to carry both stories.

'The Financial Times' carried a carousel of images on its website, headed by shots from the Garden of Remembrance.

The visit, it said, "is expected to cement Anglo-Irish relations that have improved beyond recognition in the years since the 1998 Good Friday agreement".

Despite the scares, the British media was largely positive. "Let goodwill triumph" was the leader in the 'Daily Mail'. 'The Daily Telegraph' ran commentary during the day, noting the "huge moment in the history of the two nations."

Ian Burrell is media editor of the London Independent

Irish Independent

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